TITLE: Sphinx’s Princess
AUTHOR: Esther Friesner
PUBLICATION: 2009 by Random House, Inc.
Nefertiti has spent her whole life being praised for her beautiful face and now she finds herself at Pharaoh’s palace where she is being groomed to marry the crown prince. However, Nefertiti is under no illusions that her new position as a princess of Egypt is anything but a political game. Her friendship with her betrothed’s younger brother fills her days with happiness, but even an innocent friendship is viewed as suspect in a court of intrigue and by family that is fearful of conspiracy. Nefertiti’s guardian may be the Sphinx, but can even that save her from the wrath of mortal beings?
WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT IT . . .
I have read this book before yet I wanted to visit it again before picking up the sequel Sphinx’s Queen. I enjoyed it enough when I checked it out from the library that I purchased a copy for my own library, but this is the first time I have read it in the time since it was added to my shelves. It really is quite sad that I neglect my books so much…
Thankfully I can say that Sphinx’s Princess was just as good the second time around as it was during my first reading of it a couple of years ago. As readers of my blog are aware I have been feeling a bit let down by several of my recent books so it was comforting to pick up something that I knew would deliver what I craved in a story. I actually finished reading this novel in a mere day. Nefertiti is sometimes referred to as the woman without a history so it was interesting to see an author’s take on what her life may have been like growing up.
Friesner’s novel moves at an even pace and I found myself lapping up every page of it. I fear that I am terribly biased about liking anything from Ancient Egypt because I wanted to live in Nefertiti’s world. Nefertiti changes in the book and it becomes clear that what doesn’t kill her will make her stronger. I liked how Nefertiti wanted to be more than just a beautiful face and I found myself liking her as a protagonist too.
One of the things that struck me when I first read this book and then again this time was the character Amenophis, whom we shall get to know better as history’s famous Akhenaten. I’ve read books of fiction about Egypt around this time before and he’s always characterized as someone who’s spiraled into madness by defying the tradition of Egypt’s gods. However, Friesner has chosen to show us a young prince living in the shadows of his powerful family. Amenophis has the makings of a great leader, but it’s his relationship with Nefertiti that inspires him to stand up to his mother and brother.
This was an entertaining book about Nefertiti and I think readers of historical fiction would like it. I am reading Sphinx’s Queen so I hope to have another review posted soon.